Slow Containment on New Mexico Wildfire

The Whitewater-Baldy Complex wildfire in New Mexico’s Gila National Forest is now consumed more than 263,000 acres and is at 22 percent containment, according to an official fire report.

More than 1,000 personnel are battling the lightning-caused fire, which started on May 16.

On Tuesday U.S. Forest Chief Tom Tidwell surveyed what has developed into the largest wildfire in the nation, and the largest in New Mexico’s recorded history.

Local news website reported that Tidwell said his flight over the fire gave him further insight into the size and the ruggedness of the Gila wilderness.

“I know there are a lot of times people question why we’re not able to get in there and put out these fires right away,” he said. “If folks could actually see how rugged the terrain is, how steep these canyons are, how much fuel is there, the size of the timber and how inaccessible it is, I think they would quickly understand.”